Supreme Court rulings: Lessons for my 8th grade students

rainbow flagIt’s always bittersweet in June when the Supreme Court issues its major rulings, because I can’t help but wish school was in session so we could talk about them in my American history class.

In our Constitution unit we’ve spent a lot of time these last couple years talking about the Equal Protection Clause, tracing it from Chinese laundry owner Yick Wo up through more recent civil rights struggles. Inevitably, we end up looking at current events and asking where the Equal Protection Clause could or should be applied next.

Eighth graders are so strident and idealistic, and listening to them talk about marriage equality (among other issues) is just one of the best parts of my job. I’m really hoping they’re watching the news today (“SEE! Remember when I told you the Constitution was a living document that affects our lives everyday??!!”), and I’m hoping they’re already thinking about what the next step in the struggle for equal rights will be.